Monthly Archives: December 2014

The Martians Kidnap Santa!

Mars1The Martians Kidnap Santa! Egg Nog Stout comes from the obviously warped minds at Spring House Brewing Company in Conestoga, PA. An American Imperial/Double Stout, it pours dark brown in the glass with a one-finger chocolate milk head. The first whiff is definitely eggnog followed by nutmeg. On the palette, eggnog resolves into chocolate layered with nutmeg and spice. Hop bitterness arrives on the finish to dry things out. It just gets richer with subsequent sips, flavor building upon flavor. For me it’s a new and different approach, excellent for the holiday season, and definitely a cold weather beer . . . unless it’s as warm as it is here this Christmas, in which case it’s a cool weather beer!

May the coming year be filled with the new and interesting, and with return visits of old favorites, whether human or libation! We move into the new year true to the memory of the Beaker Peoples and ever dedicated to the elimination of beer surpluses wherever found.

Have a very Merry Christmas . . . even though there won’t be any presents this year. Oh well, drink up!

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Howe Sound and Broad Brook

TotalEclipseHowe Sound Brewing

Total Eclipse of the Hop

This pours a full, creamy, frothy tan head over dark amber. The nose strikes me as lagerish and not hoppy; it’s quite yeasty with a touch of sourdough. The flavor shows that bittering hops are favored over aroma hops. There is a touch of sourness but then toffee develops. The finish is mostly bitter.

I was unfamiliar with them, and they pointed me toward their website.


In 1980, BC’s John Mitchell and Frank Appleton pioneered North America’s first modern craft brewery at Horseshoe Bay on BC’s spectacular Howe Sound. This began what has become known as the “craft brewing renaissance”.

In 1996, John Mitchell helped design the Howe Sound Brewery and worked as our first brewer developing our initial recipes. Known as the “grandfather of micro-brewing in Canada”, we are proud of his ongoing relationship with our brewery. Today we continue to brew in the craft style using unfiltered 100% barley mash. We pride ourselves in brewing a diverse selection of flavorful, well-balanced ales. We invite you to enjoy the experience.
In keeping with the rugged backdrop of Howe Sound, our brewery adopts environmental stewardship in many aspects of our business. By reusing spent grain, yeast, water, bottles, caps and innovatively creating secondary products, we strive to have a zero effect on the environment. Our creative innovation is the key to our environmental philosophy and model of sustainability.

There might be argument about “North America’s first modern craft brewery” considering that Jack McAuliffe opened New Albion Brewing Company in 1976. Granted that didn’t last long. Credit is also usually given to Fritz Maytag and his purchase of Anchor Brewing in 1965 . . . perhaps that doesn’t seem modern. In any case, I look forward to trying more of Howe’s products!

HopstilloBroad Brook Brewing

Hopstillo IPA

The pour yields a good 1-1/2″ cream-colored head over clear light amber. The aroma is very clean with earthy herbal hops and citrus underneath with just a bit of yeast. Earthiness continues on the palette, with flashes of hops around the mouth along with a good malt backbone. The mouthfeel starts smooth and gets rather dry with some edges. It’s a complex finish with waves of hops and malt, with the bittering hops coming through along with a touch of mineral. 84 IBU, 6.8% ABV
Broad Brook is in East Windsor CT. It’s interesting that such a small brewery takes the trouble to put their product in cans, overcoming a craft beer prejudice. Their website doesn’t discuss it, but I see them as following the lead of Oskar Blues and The Alchemist in promoting packaging that is both recycleable and “backpackable.”

What their website does say includes the following:

Welcome to Broad Brook Brewing Company, located in the heart of Connecticut’s Tobacco Valley. Here we meld New England traditions and experience with our ingenuity and creative boldness to produce a unique series of Ales and Lagers.

If you enjoy drinking a great beer, you’ll love Broad Brook Brewing. We are committed to making the highest quality products with only the best ingredients. We’re craft beer enthusiasts. There is nothing we enjoy more than brewing and drinking well crafted, full-bodied beer. We have high standards for the beer we brew, and we will not make anything that does not meet those standards.

Again, I look forward to trying more of their products!

Image courtesy of Howe Sound Brewing

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Cooperstown: Beyond Baseball


Brewery Ommegang

ommHennLabelHennepin Farmhouse Saison

Baseball may be out of season, but Cooperstown’s Ommegang never is. Their Saison is hazy pale gold with lots of head. The yeasty nose comes with a hint of lemon cream. More yeast and citrus on palette with plenty of malt and some sweetness. Finish is malt leading to a touch of hops and a certain dryness. 7.7% ABV, which seems quite high for a Saison.

ommAbbeyAbbey Ale

This Dubbel pours with a rich, thick, tan head, easy to overpour. Rich nose too, full of yeast and fruit, maybe even melon. Arrives with a fine mouthfeel; you can practically chew it. On the palette there’s sweet malt, faint effervescence, and fruity undertones of cherry and raisin. Finish is long, sweet and malty. 8.2% ABV


2″ white head and hazy straw in the glass. The nose is classic Weizen with citrusy yeast. Crisp with spicy nutmeg and coriander with rich malt. It has a gentle spicy finish. 5.2% ABV, their lowest.

ommThreePLabelThree Philosophers

This is a Quadrupel Ale with a bit of Kriek added. Pours brown with an inch of light coffee head. Nose not as yeasty but giving toffee and coffee and wine. Crisp subtle complexity, not as sweet as the Dubbel. Coffee and roasty malt on the palette, and dusty coffee on the finish. 9.7% ABV

ommScytheLabelScythe & Sickle

Yields a sand colored head over amber. I get an orange spice nose, and orange spice palette with complex malt and dry hops coming in. Ommegang calls this a harvest beer, and Beer Advocate names the style as Bière de Garde. 5.8% ABV, one of their lowest.

ommAdorationAdoration Dark Winter Ale

Pours dark amber to brown with a light coffee head. The nose is full of yeast and coffee and spices and the spices increase as it warns a little. On the palette this is rich and mouth filling with toffee sweetness balanced by malt, subtle hops and spices all around the edges. Definitely good for the winter season. Would play off well with caramelized dishes from ribs and steak through sweet salad dressings and even gingerbread. As you can tell, I like this a lot. 10% ABV, their strongest.

ommRareVosRare Vos

They call this a Cafe Ale. It pours medium amber with pale tan head. There is a spice-cake nose with bread building in. The mouthfeel is creamy, and the flavor is slightly sweet, slightly orange, and distinctly spicy. Some herbal hop bitterness comes in on the finish, more so than many Ommegang offerings. 6.5% ABV

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